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December 31, 2010 Published in Top Stories

2010: The Year In Review

By Carla Branch and James Cullum
alexandrianews.org

2010 will be remembered for back-to-back snowstorms, which dumped more than 30 inches of snow on Alexandria, for the Alexandria City Council approving the North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan and paving the way for a new MetroRail Station there; for the impending arrival of 6400 new employees at Mark Center when the Washington Headquarters Services facility opens in September, 2011; for the appointment of more ad hoc task forces and work groups to study transportation solutions in the Beauregard Corridor when the new facility opens at Mark Center; for T. C. Williams High School’s designation as a Persistently Lowest Achieving School and the hiring of new principal Suzanne Maxey to lead the transformation process; for the Alexandria City Public School system’s continued failure to make Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act despite improvement on all Virginia Standards of Learning tests by all student groups; for an historic meeting between the Arlington County Board of Supervisors and the Alexandria City Council; for a U. S. Court of Appeals loss for the City, which means that Norfolk-Southern’s ethanol transloading facility is here to stay; for Mayor Bill Euille’s fall at the Braddock Road Metro Station, which sent him to the emergency room and eventually to the operating table for knee surgery and for the first night football game at T. C. Williams’ Parker-Gray Stadium. The year brought discussions about ACPS Superintendent Morton Sherman’s reliance on expensive national consultants and City Manager Jim Hartmann’s reductions in spending for consulting services; continued fiscal constraints in Alexandria with an economic outlook for next year that is cautiously optimistic and about making the Torpedo Factory Art Center a more economically viable facility. The mid-term elections, which brought significant change to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate saw Alexandria resoundingly return ten-term Congressman Jim Moran, a Democrat, to Washington.

Here’s how some of Alexandria’s elected and appointed officials remember the year.

 

Delegate David Englin (Photo: James Cullum)

Virginia State Delegate David Englin (D-45th):

1. “Congress repealed Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell, so gay and lesbian service members may finally serve openly, and America will no longer be denied their skills and courage. This discriminatory policy was created shortly after I entered the Air Force, and I spoke out against it and worked to overturn it throughout my military service, so I was personally pleased to see Congress finally do the right thing.

2. “Congress passed historic health care reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care. Now Virginia must do its part to implement the law well, so individuals and families get quality health care without risking financial ruin or overburdening small businesses.

3. “The General Assembly used dishonest gimmicks like raiding more than $600 million from Virginia’s already under-funded pension trust fund and forcing small businesses to pay sales taxes they had not yet even collected to ‘balance’ the budget. This caused me to vote against the final budget for the first time, and it is shaping my 2011 legislative agenda, which will seek to end gimmickry and bring honest accounting to Virginia’s finances.

4. “Citizens successfully organized and made their voices heard in defense of the Winkler nature preserve and in opposition to the I-95/395 HOT Lanes. This resulted in VDOT agreeing to revise plans that would have destroyed parts of Winkler. Citizen opposition also contributed significantly to keeping the I-95/395 HOT Lanes project on hold, which is important considering that the project a real threat to our community with little evidence that it will actually work to improve regional traffic flow.

5. Democratic leaders in Congress thought it would be better to punt on important votes until after the midterm elections, crippling the ability of Democratic candidates to paint a contrast with their Republican opponents. The resulting Republican sweep in the midterm elections means those of us fighting for economic and social justice at the state level will have to work that much harder.”

 

Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46th)(Photo: James Cullum)

Virginia State Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46th):

1. The end of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell: “When Don’t Ask-Don’t tell was repealed, all Americans interested in civil rights, freedom and liberty scored a major victory. Ending DADT was a step toward equality of the best nature, where people can live and serve in our country without fear of simply being themselves. We become stronger as a nation each time we take a step forward in the path to equality.”

2. Gulf Oil Spill: “The Gulf oil spill is a tragedy of epic proportions that has irrevocably harmed the environment, and has hurt countless families. It makes me resolute in our need to strengthen our commitment to renewable energy.”

3. The Alexandria Community coming together in the face of BRAC: “Even though the West End of Alexandria has been dealing with a base relocation since 2008, in 2010, the community came together stronger than I have even seen it in the face of working toward a better community that can function as well as serve its residents.”

4. Guns are now allowed in bars

5. Midterm Elections: “The midterm elections were a wakeup call for Democrats across the country. We have to be vigilant in order to move our country forward.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille (Photo: James Cullum)

 

Mayor Bill Euille:

1. “Snowmaggedon”

2. Haiti Earthquake and Citizens’ Responses

3. Devastating August 5, storm (microburst)

4. Potomac Yard Redevelopment with a Proposed Metro Station stop

5. “Friday Night Lights” at T.C. Williams High School

 

Vice Mayor Kerry Donley:

Vice Mayor Kerry Donley. (Courtesy Photo)

1. Good health for my family

2. Approval of the North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan

3. Republicans take control of the House

4. Jim Moran is re-elected by a landslide in a Republican year

5. T.C. Williams Girls’ 2nd Eight [Crew] wins National Championship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACPS School Board Chair, Yvonne Folkerts. (Photo: Regan Kireilis)

 

School Board Chair Yvonne Folkerts:

1. “T.C. Williams designated as a persistently lowest-achieving high school in the state of Virginia.

2. “Transformation plan of TCW includes Individual Achievement Plans for students, Professional Learning Plans tied to student learning for teachers, monthly monitoring of progress, creation of the Writing and Math Centers, reduced teaching loads for Math and English teachers; reduced case loads for counselors and the hiring of new principal Suzanne Maxey.

3. “The results on state-mandated tests have increased division-wide for all students in all subjects.

4. “Enrollment continued to climb, straining building and staff capacities throughout the division.

5. “The impact of Snowmaggedon: students missed 10 days of school and the School Board approved adding time to the school day as make-up.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka. (Photo: Regan Kireilis)

 

City Councilman Rob Krupicka:

1. Storms – “Too much snow and too much wind and our community pulled together and got through them all.”

2. School Children – “Increasing by enormous numbers as more and more families move into the City and put their kids in public schools.”

3. Test Scores – “Student test scores go up in every student category.”

4. National Trends – “Alexandria bucks national election trends and strongly supports Congressman Jim Moran.”

5. The Economy – “With the end of 2010, we are starting to see real signs of Alexandria’s economic recovery with lower unemployment rates, increases in retail sales, property value increases and new construction.”
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandria City Councilwoman Del Pepper at the joint meeting. (Photo: James Cullum)

 

Councilwoman Del Pepper:

1. The Budget: “In May, City Council adopted a FY2011 budget with a very small, 0.3 percent increase, and roughly a 3% increase in the average homeowner’s tax bill. School funding was increased two percent. During the recession, the City cut five percent from its workforce. It appears that the City has begun to recover gradually, but steadily, from the recession and has seen increases in tourism revenues, restaurant sales, and, hopefully, a bottoming out of the real estate market. As in previous years, Council passed a resolution at its November legislative meeting providing guidance to the City Manager as he prepares the FY2012 budget. In this year’s guidance, Council recommended that there be no increase in the base real estate tax rate and that the City Manager propose a Transportation Add-On Tax. This tax would apply only to commercial and industrial properties.”

2. BRAC-133: “Throughout 2010, the City, the BRAC-133 Advisory Group, the Department of Defense and VDOT continued to study short-term, mid-term and long-term plans in order to address the impact of the DoD’s move of 6400 workers to the Mark Center site beginning in mid-2011.”

3. Passage of the North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan and plans for a Metrorail Station: “The City Council approved the North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan, which provides for the development of a mixed use project that would include the construction of a new Metrorail station. To help finance the station, the City and the land developers agreed to a financial plan that includes a City bond issuance backed by developer contributions, new tax revenues that would be generated by the Potomac Yard development, as well as a special tax district on the west side of the rail tracks that will levy an added 20-cent real estate tax on commercial Potomac Yard property owners.”

4. High Capacity Transit Corridors: “In addition to receiving $8.5 million in federal stimulus funding to build a high capacity transit roadway on Route 1 near Potomac Yard, the City began a transitway corridor feasibility study which could lay the groundwork for future transit expansion in the City. Corridors to be studied include Beauregard, Landmark/Van Dorn, Duke Street and Route 1.

5. The Beauregard Corridor: During the year, the Beauregard corridor planning continued with discussions concerning traffic studies, land use, density, etc. This planning was largely, (but not only), triggered by JBG, which purchased much of the former Winkler residential and retail properties in the Beauregard corridor and wanted to redevelop them. Three groups held meetings at one time or another during the year: JBG, the City, and a newly formed stakeholder’s group.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne (Photo: Regan Kireilis)

 

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne:

1. “Our ties to the community are as important to us as the performance of our state mandate to manage the Adult Detention Center, where we achieved re-accreditation with a near 100 percent rating from the American Correctional Association.

2. “As the jail facility is the stalwart of our duties, the construction and remodeling of the first floor of the Detention Center has been a major operational endeavor this year. The project is nearing completion and we will soon have state-of-the-art technology and design efficiency in our new booking area.

3. “Our giving to the Alexandria community is something we do with pride and with compassion. Throughout 2010, Sheriff’s staff have served as volunteers for Meals on Wheels, conducted food drives in support of Alexandria ALIVE’s food bank; transported hundreds of pounds of donated food to Hopkins House to be distributed at Thanksgiving; delivered school supplies donated by the Community Partnership for Children to Alexandria’s schools in time for the new school year; distributed toys to children of the Alexandria Detention Center’s incarcerated parents and participated in the annual Spring for Alexandria community service project. We were happy to serve Alexandria as neighbors and friends.

4. “The Inmate Work Detail, under the supervision of three full-time Deputies, saved the City more than $225,000 in labor cost for worked performed for City and non-profit agencies. In 2010, the Work Detail completed trash collection, landscaping, painting projects and helped the Alexandria City Public Schools prepare for the school year by sprucing up school playgrounds and lawns. The Detail is effective in saving the City thousands while providing inmates with opportunities to productively complete their sentences and learn valuable vocational skills to use after their release. Our staff and Inmate Work Detail performed great service during the February snowstorms, plowing and scraping city streets, public walkways and cleared over 50 fire hydrants of snow. Similar work was also performed after the August rainstorms.

5. “2010 is notable for the renaming of the Alexandria Detention Center. In May 2011, the facility will be renamed the William G. Truesdale Detention Center. Deputy Truesdale made the supreme sacrifice on the afternoon of January 27. 1981, when a prisoner attempted escape, overpowered Deputy Truesdale and shot him.”

 

Randy Sengel (Courtesy Photo)

Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel:

“Its really impossible to say that one case was more significant or more important than another. Top five events? Pick any five days of the year you want. I am just thankful that on any given day, we are able to maintain the dedicated and professional staff who show up and get the job done, committed to the notion that the best protection of the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes and who approaches the task with humility.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandria City Manager Jim Hartmann. (Photo: Regan Kireilis)

 

City Manager Jim Hartmann:

1. “Snowmageddon. In February, two back-to-back snowstorms dumped more than 40 inches of snow in the City of Alexandria. The extraordinary amount of snow and blizzard conditions closed roads, downed trees, caused power outages and shut down most of the region. However, essential city operations continued, and city emergency employees worked around the clock for nearly two weeks on all aspects of snow removal. The City and the Alexandria community worked together during one of the most challenging weather situations we will ever face to get the city back to normal. Snow removal associated with the two storms cost the City approximately $7.1 million.

2. “The August 5, severe thunderstorm. A sudden, severe thunderstorm passed through Alexandria on Thursday, August 5, downing trees and power lines, causing widespread power outages and closing over 40 city roads and damaging property. The City started its emergency response immediately, opening its Emergency Operations Center within one hour of the storm’s passing. Over the next few days, the City worked closely with Dominion Power to remove downed trees that closed streets and left thousands of residents without power for days. Residents also did their part, moving tons of tree debris to the curb for city collection and helping neighbors whose homes sustained storm damage. It took weeks to get the city back to normal, but the City and Alexandria community, once again, pulled together and got the job done. The city’s storm cleanup costs for the August 5 storm were approximately $780,000.

3. “BRAC-133 Challenges. BRAC-133 will bring 6,400 new jobs to Alexandria when it is completed in September 2011, and the new buildings will be one of the most visible landmarks on the City’s West End. Growth of this magnitude brings complex transportation issues that will affect businesses, residents and commuters in the area. City leaders, staff, the BRAC-133 Advisory Group and community stakeholders have worked closely with our state and federal partners to find effective solutions for mitigating some of the significant transportation challenges that lie ahead.

4. “North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan approved. The Alexandria City Council voted to approve amendments of the City’s Master Plan to create the North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan. The Plan provides the framework for future rezoning and development permits in the 69-acre area on which the Potomac Yard shopping center is now located. The Plan, whose cornerstone is the creation of a new Metrorail station, calls for a walkable grid of streets with local and regional connections for multiple transportation modes; a series of open spaces; residential areas; affordable housing; and retail and office space. The Metrorail station is contemplated to be financed through tax revenues generated by the development, the creation of special tax districts and developer contributions.

5. “2010 Budget/2011 Financial Outlook Improving. Over the past several years, the City has made operational and budget changes that have helped Alexandria handle the extreme fiscal challenges that started in the beginning of Fiscal Year 2009 and continue today. In Fiscal Year 2010, the City began with a shortfall, but ended with a surplus, in spite of the February snow storms. Significant budget reductions in programs and operations have resulted in budget savings of more than $27 million from FY 2007 to FY 2011. The City workforce was also reduced by 61 funded full-and-part-time staff positions in FY 2011, in addition to the 119 positions reduced in the FY 2010 budget. These measures, coupled with strong fiscal management, will help maintain the city’s sustainability through what appears to be a slow economic recovery.

“The picture is slowly improving, and we are not anticipating shortfalls or cuts to current services. City leaders will continue to make careful decisions that will maintain Alexandria’s financial integrity and sustainability in the long term.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandria Chief of Police Earl Cook. (Photo: Regan Kireilis)

 

Police Chief Earl Cook:

1. Snowstorm of January 2010 (working through the storm and back-to-school efforts).

2. Reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

3. Double Homicide.

4. Graduation of first CIT class and continuation of the program.

Reaching a 43-year historic low in crime.

alexandrianews.org’s top stories for the year can be viewed in our 2010 In Review section.